Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fund

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9780801886041: Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fund

Etched into America's consciousness is the United Negro College Fund's phrase "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." This book tells the story of the organization's efforts on behalf of black colleges against the backdrop of the cold war and the civil rights movement.

Founded during the post–World War II period as a successor to white philanthropic efforts, the UNCF nevertheless retained vestiges of outside control. In its early years, the organization was restrained in its critique of segregation and reluctant to lodge a challenge against institutional and cultural racism. Through cogent analysis of written and oral histories, archival documents, and the group's outreach and advertising campaigns, historian Marybeth Gasman examines the UNCF’s struggle to create an identity apart from white benefactors and to evolve into a vehicle for black empowerment.

The first history of the UNCF, Envisioning Black Colleges draws attention to the significance of black colleges in higher education and the role they played in Americans’ struggle for equality.

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From the Back Cover:

Winner, Outstanding Publication Award, American Educational Research Association

Etched into America's consciousness is the United Negro College Fund's phrase "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." This book tells the story of the organization's efforts on behalf of black colleges against the backdrop of the cold war and the civil rights movement.

Founded during the post–World War II period as a successor to white philanthropic efforts, the UNCF nevertheless retained vestiges of outside control. In its early years, the organization was restrained in its critique of segregation and reluctant to lodge a challenge against institutional and cultural racism. Through cogent analysis of written and oral histories, archival documents, and the group's outreach and advertising campaigns, historian Marybeth Gasman examines the UNCF’s struggle to create an identity apart from white benefactors and to evolve into a vehicle for black empowerment.

The first history of the UNCF, Envisioning Black Colleges draws attention to the significance of black colleges in higher education and the role they played in Americans’ struggle for equality.

"A vivid and comprehensive account of the history of the United Negro College Fund."― Teachers College Record

"So many issues are imbedded in the intersection of race and philanthropy, yet so few researchers have tried to probe them. Gasman is to be admired for being bold enough to examine the 'double consciousness' that existed for both Blacks and Whites in leading and supporting the UNCF."― Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly

"A thoughtful, incisive history of the UNCF."― Diverse Issues in Higher Education

"A solid basis for continued consideration of the intersections of race, philanthropy, and higher education."― Journal of American History

"Gasman convinces the reader that agency is complex and compelling, and as a result she reminds the reader that the historical and contemporary ironies of opportunity in this democracy deserve exploration and discussion."― Review of Higher Education

" Envisioning Black Colleges is a worthy addition to the larger field of philanthropic history, and it brings new depth to the study of the history of African American higher education in the US."― NEA Higher Education Journal

"Marybeth Gasman has provided an excellent study of the United Negro College Fund."― Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Professor Gasman fills an important and neglected gap in the history of black higher education and its ongoing relationship with philanthropy in the mid- to late-twentieth century."― History of Education

"Gasman's book is a very informative history of the founding and the evolution of the UNCF during the period examined. Her use of visual images from UNCF campaign advertisements is powerful, underscoring their strong symbolism reflective of the times and each story deftly told."― Oral History Review

About the Author:

Marybeth Gasman is the Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the coauthor of Educating a Diverse Nation: Lessons from Minority Serving Institutions and The Morehouse Mystique: Becoming a Doctor at the Nation's Newest African American Medical School.

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